Sunday, April 7, 2013

Trouble in Bee Paradise?

So, the big moment I've been waiting for. Looking in the hives to see if the queen is out of her cage, comb is being built and no cross combing in the top bar hive.  I decided to look in the Langstroth hive first.  There's a reason more people do that type of hive.  Handy Man spotted the queen almost as soon as I pulled up the second frame I checked. Since the bees are using a flat base, they are spread across it sort of evenly.  Looked fine to me.
Next- Blow a little smoke, lift out the bar with the queen
and there she is- still in the cage and dead.

At this point, I was not sure that was a queen, since a bit of the candy plug was gone and another bee could have climbed in and died, but after researching a bit, I believe it is the queen and the Bee Guy seconded that opinion.
So, at this point, not knowing what was going on, I continued to examine the bars.  There is no comb on the bar I'm holding here.  It's the weirdest thing, like bunches of slinky bees all moving, yet attached to each other and seemingly attached to some stretchy elastic, only there isn't anything but bees.

 The next bar in the hive did have comb, but I could see no queen.  Actually, I could see no comb until I brushed off the two inch thick bee mass.

Well, that was certainly interesting, or something.  So, I put the word out to the specialist and learn that there could have been a second queen already in the bee mix.  Since only one queen allowed, the workers would have stung that caged queen to death.  In addition, there might be a queen, but she might not have yet mated, which means it is her job to check out for a couple of days and finds some drones and some action before returning to lay eggs.
Sooooooooooo, tomorrow evening my job is to again open the hive, brush off the bee piles from the comb, turn with my back to the sun, look into the bottom of each little hexagon to see if there is a teeny tiny white egg. 
 I'll let you know.


  1. VERY cool pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed for all of you! Keep us posted.